Here are three common questions young adults ask:
Q: Do my parents have a right to see my college grades?
A: No. Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, the college is not allowed to share grades with parents unless the student is claimed as a dependent on the parents’ income tax returns and the student has signed a form authorizing the school to release the information. Even then, the school is not required to release it. But they are allowed, if it is part of the school’s policy to do so. This rule applies no matter who is paying the tuition. Parental payment of tuition does not get the parents any greater rights.
Q: If the law enforcement officer wants to ask me questions, do I have to answer?
A: It depends. If he or she is asking for your identity, then yes, you have to answer. Failure to cooperate is called “interference with official acts,” a simple misdemeanor.
If the law enforcement officer wants to ask you questions about your own activity, which they suspect was criminal, then you only need to say, “I am happy to answer your questions as soon as I talk to a lawyer.” A frequent tactic the police will use to get a person to engage in conversation is to say, “You can either talk to us here, or you can talk to us at the jail.” Do not interpret this to mean that if you talk to them now, they are promising not to arrest you. If they determine you have done something wrong, they will still arrest you.
Always be respectful and polite in your responses, even if you are refusing to answer questions. Law enforcement officers are real people, trying to do their jobs. However, it is easy for them to become quite jaded. You would be, too, if you were constantly having to deal with disrespectful people every day.
Q: I am 19 years old and live in my own apartment. Can I drink a beer there?
A: Not legally, unless one of your parents is there. The law is Iowa Code 123.47(2). Parents can lawfully furnish their own underage children with limited amounts of alcohol, in a private location (such as a house or apartment), as long as the parent is there to supervise. Excessive consumption could result in criminal charges against both the parent and the young adult, however. Use caution.
This is the second in a series of articles aimed at young adults.
Information provided by Cynthia Letsch, Letsch Law Firm, 6165 N.E. Eighth, Johnston, 515-727-1715, www.LetschLawFirm.com.